As a Delta hub city resident, Delta miles are certainly something I follow. I don’t actively collect them on an ongoing basis, but I do love when they offer big signup bonuses. Their cards often offer bonuses around 30,000 miles, so when I see 60,000 to 70,000 points available? I have to make sure you know about it. It’s happening now, and today (July 5) is the last official day to take advantage.
Gary at View From the Wing has a great write-up explaining the particulars and why now is the time to act.
ARE DELTA MILES WORTH GETTING?
If I am flying domestic on my own dime, I prefer Southwest. No bag fees or change fees, and that wins me over. But I live in a Delta hub city, so I would be foolish not to accumulate Delta miles as well. Less than a month ago, my family and I used 10K Delta miles apiece to fly back from Newark. We had flown Southwest into LaGuardia for our NYC visit, but Newark was better for flying home. So, I am routinely able to find easy opportunities to use Delta miles. By the way, 10K miles for a one way on Delta is solid value. 25,000 round trip is typically the best you can hope for, so clearly this was better.
Delta’s mileage program has been bashed for several years, and not without good reason. They hid their award charts, so there is no transparency regarding how many miles a flight should require. They pioneered revenue-based status earning (rather than traditional mileage-based) which rewards the biggest spenders. They began offering one-way awards long after their peers had begun doing so.
But in the course of their introducing one-ways, I have noticed that there are some sweet spots. I can often find short-haul flights for under 10,000 miles, which is very good value.
WHAT ABOUT PERKS?
News flash. I do not currently have an airline credit card. Delta, Southwest, United, American, Alaska? None of them. Why? Because I don’t fly that often. Thus, my focus is on earning points quickly, not airline perks. And the simple truth is, the power of airline credit cards is in their perks. They are not great, for most people anyway, when it comes to earning miles/points quickly.
But the perks can be terrific. Let’s start with checked bags. It’s reason enough to convince some people to pay the annual fee (usually starting at $95). A few checked bags a year easily pays the annual fee. The cards also get you early boarding, which for families can be a godsend. If you are not a checked bag kind of person, then you can leverage the early boarding for better overhead space access.
In the case of the Platinum Skymiles card, you also get a companion ticket every year when you pay the annual fee. Obviously this can help offset the $195 annual fee for this card.
I am not one who uses the Delta cards for my actual spending, but for the first year, the increased signup bonuses on these cards make them a virtual no-brainer. AMEX has a once in a lifetime policy on signup bonuses for their cards, so you may as well pull the trigger when the bonus is at its highest.